Blessed Archangelo Canetuli, OSA (AC)
(also known as Archangelus of Bologna)
Born at Bologna, Italy; died 1513. Archangelus became an Augustinian canon regular at Gubbio and was conspicuous for his natural gift of fraternal love and supernatural gift of prophecy. He died as archbishop-elect of Florence (Attwater2, Benedictines).
Benedict Joseph Labre (RM)
Born at Amettes (near Boulogne), Arras, France, March 26 (25?), 1748; died in Rome, April 17 (16?), 1783; beatified in 1860; canonized in 1881.
Since God leads each of us in our own way, our spiritual life will assume an pattern totally different from that of anyone else. Each of us is one of a kind. Our spirituality then should also be one of a kind. This is shown dramatically in various people's lives.
The story of Saint Benedict caught my eye and my heart. He was born in 18th century France in Amettes, then in the diocese of Boulogne-sur-Mer, to a family of prosperous shopkeepers. His mother claimed to feel his sanctity while she carried him in her womb. Because of his piety he was sent to an uncle who was a parish priest at Erin for his education in Latin, grammar, and mathematics to prepare him for the religious life.
A domestic servant in his uncle's house, probably jealous, used to knock Benedict about when they were alone and forced the youngster to perform chores beyond the strength of his years. Since Benedict seemed to find this odious treatment amusing, the bully was disarmed.
In freedom from the prying eyes of his preoccupied elders, little Benedict tried his hand at austerities, the recipes for which he found in the dusty library of the presbytery. In addition to almsgiving that gives so much pleasure to the giver, he adopted a minor practice in austerity that was more sane than them all: every night he would replace his pillow with a plank of oakwood. Once upon being surprised while sleeping in this way, he explained, without ostentation: "I do it in order not to sleep too deeply."
He made steady progress in his studies until he was 16. Then, suddenly, he was unable to learn any more. His uncle died of cholera after he and Benedict had ministered to other victims in the parish. Is this the reason he could learn no more? Or was it because Benedict was overcome by the dark night of the soul, as Saint John of the Cross calls this state, in which God forms the soul and prepares it for union with himself?
After his uncle's death, he walked 60 miles to La Trappe to become a monk. He was irresistibly drawn to the very austere order. But he was denied entry. He vainly applied numerous times between 1766 and 1770 for entry into the Trappists, Carthusians, and Cistercians, but each time was sent home. For some of the communities he was too young; others, after admitting him, found him to be suffering such spiritual tortures that they couldn't let him stay; to still others, the failure of his physical health was proof that he could not observe the rule and, therefore, must be rejected.
Finally, Benedict realized that God must have something else in store for him. He went home and told his parents that he felt God was calling him to Rome. Perhaps because he was the eldest of 15 children, they were reluctant but finally gave him their blessing. Off he went on foot to Rome, begging his way.
Those who have never begged say that it's painful only the first time, but this isn't true. One does not knock on all doors in the same way. It is not true that the same words invariably come to mind in front of different faces. Each time is the first time. How tempting then to deprive yourself of a stale piece of bread which even the dogs would forego and to not ask. Begging is not easy. Try stretching out your own hand and you will see how difficult it is to swallow pride and ask for help.
Saint Vincent de Paul understood that the beggar needs us and deprives himself of us because we deprive ourselves of him. A beggar is a man who is completely at our mercy, and whom we never thank for the opportunity to act in God's Name.
The saint wandered to Italy to seek admission there into a strict monastery or community of hermits. In Italy he experienced inner enlightenment and clearly recognized that it was God's will that, like Saint Alexis, he was to leave his home, his father and mother, and everything that was agreeable in the world, in order to lead a new life, a life of rigorous penance, in the midst of the world, as an eternal pilgrim.
From the moment of this recognition, his soul was filled with perfect peace, and all attempts made by confessors to bring him back to an ordered life, with work, failed.
Benedict Joseph wandered. For the next three or four years he wandered about western Europe, going from shrine to shrine. He went to Santiago de Compostella in Spain, to Aix-en-Provence and Paray-le-Monial in France, to Assisi, Loreto, and Bari in Italy. He paid repeated visits to Einsiedeln and to German sanctuaries, made a pilgrimage every year to Loretto, and continued to make Rome his city of perpetual pilgrimage. He always travelled on foot, slept in the open or in some corner, his clothing rags, his body filthy, picking up food where he could, and sharing any money given to him.
As he travelled in his sack-cloth cinched with a rope, he carried with him only his perpetual nourishment: the Imitation of Christ, the New Testament, and a breviary. His rosary was made from the berries of wild rose bushes, which he would eat when they began to wear out.
He finally settled in Rome in 1774, where he found his vocation as a tramp, wandering the streets with other vagrants. How could this be a vocation? He dressed in rags and wandered from shrine to shrine. Eventually he became widely known as one of the homeless who roamed the streets accepting crumbs of food and clothes that the charitable would give him.
During the day he spent most of his time in churches with perpetual adoration; at night he wandered to the seven major basilicas. He quenched his thirst at the fountains; he lived from remnants of food found in the streets. He slept for a few hours under an arch of the Colosseum at the station of the Cross named "Simon of Cyrene helps Jesus to carry the Cross." As time went on people began to realize that there was something different about this tramp. He became known as the 'beggar of the Colosseum' or the 'beggar of the perpetual adoration.'
It was rumored that he was of high birth but had committed a murder or other heinous crime and now sought atonement. Alms given to him burned in his hand; he passed them on to other who he deemed more needy. He was once beaten by a man who thought Benedict had spurned his offer of money because he gave it away.
His soul hovered constantly over the greatest mysteries of the faith. And, just as all water streams to the sea, so everything carried him on to the mysteries of the Most Holy Trinity. "When I contemplate the crowning of thorns," he said to the priest who examined him, "I feel myself elevated to the Trinity of God."
"What do you, a man without education, understand about this mystery?" the priest asked.
"I understand nothing about it," Benedict answered, "but I feel myself transported to it." And this transport was sometimes so strong that his soul was carried away and his body lay as though dead.
One day as he was praying at Saint Ignatius' and had fallen into ecstasy, an anxious visitor to the church asked the sacristan in alarm: "What has happened to this beggar?"
Benedict seemed to be swaying in the air. He was in a position that mocked the laws of equilibrium and gravity. "The saint is in ecstasy," said the sacristan, as though this were the most natural thing in the world, and went on sweeping with his broom.
Such soaring over the ground, as well as bilocation, is frequently attested in Benedict's case. As he worked in painting the interior of the church, Antonio Cavallucci was so impressed by the sight of the saint that he once took him to his studio and painted him. This painting can still be seen at the Galleria Nazionale d'Arte Antica in Rome, Italy.
This painting and his death mask reveal that Benedict was a handsome man with deep-set eyes, strong cheek bones, a perfectly straight and noble nose, high forehead, and gently protruding upper lip. Not only was his soul beautiful, so was his physical body. Perhaps the one transformed the other?
He is reputed to have multiplied bread for the hungry, and on another occasion to have cured an invalid.
One day some friends found him in a quiet glen on his knees absorbed in prayer. He stayed that way for the longest time. His companions were deeply impressed. They also found out that he had the rare gift of counseling people with the most complex problems and bringing them peace.
His reputation spread throughout Rome and soon strangers from all walks of life came to talk to him: lawyers, doctors, judges, women in society, bishops, cardinals, as well as just ordinary folks. His wisdom and understanding enabled him to bring peace to the most troubled souls.
He neglected his body and his fragile health finally obliged him to seek refuge in a hospice for poor men. There he was known to give away his portion of the soup.
The man who had spent long hours before the Blessed Sacrament collapsed from exhaustion on the steps of his favorite Roman church, Santa Maria dei Monti, during Holy Week and died, consumed by the inner flame of ceaseless prayer, in the back room of a butcher's shop to which he had been carried. Since the burial of Saint Philip Neri, there had been no such crowd pressing to see the mortal remains of a servant of God as at the Requiem Mass for Benedict Joseph. The military summoned to the scene had difficulty preserving order.
After his burial, people came from all over Europe to visit his grave and ask his intercession with God. In less than three months after his death, 136 miracles had already been protocoled. The healings and graces people received were so overwhelming that the Vatican was forced to start the process for his canonization as a saint. In record time, in 1883, he was proclaimed a person of rare heroic holiness.
The people of Rome had no doubt about the holiness of this 'new Saint Francis.' He is a late Western example of an ascetical vocation better known in the East, that of the pilgrim or wandering holy man. He also has points of resemblance with the Greek saloi and Russian yurodivy, 'fools for Christ's sake' (Attwater, Attwater2, Benedictines, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Girzone, de la Gorce, Schamoni, White).
On the day of his canonization Mass, in the crowded Saint Peter's Basilica way above the heads of the congregation was the glorious painting of this sainted tramp dressed in his rags, held up for the veneration and admiration of all the faithful.
"What a strange vocation! And you cannot help but ask why. But it was a time when the whole Christian world had become so materialistic that spiritual things meant little to people. So God called this young man to give up everything and wander the streets of Rome with other homeless people, dressed in the stinking rags of a tramp.
"All the while God molded in the depths of his soul a holiness that transcended anything people had ever witnessed, and held up the remarkable spirituality of this lowly beggar for the admiration and example of all. It was no doubt a difficult vocation for one to follow, but Saint Benedict was always a happy man, so he must have found a strange satisfaction in the realization that he was following where God was leading him" (Girzone).
Where is God leading you? Have you heard His voice yet? It's a small voice that cannot be heard except in the stillness of your heart. You, too, are called to be a saint--but how?
And how many of those nameless, faceless souls that we pass on the street are really God's Presence among us? How often do we recognize Him in them? Which one(s) is the saint we have failed to recognize?
In art, Saint Joseph Labre is depicted as a beggar with his bowl and the tricorn hat of a pilgrim sharing his alms with other poor (Roeder, White). He is the patron saint of tramps and the homeless (White).
Bernadette Soubirous V (RM)
(also known as Mary Bernarda Soubirous)
Born in Lourdes, France, January 7, 1844; died in Nevers, France, on April 16, 1879; canonized by Pope Pius XI in 1933; also honored on February 18 in France.
Marie Bernarde (called Bernadette by family and friends) Soubirous, was the oldest of six children born to the impoverished miller François Soubirous, and his much-younger wife, Louise Casterot. The family lived in the basement of a damp building in the rue des Petits Fossés after her father rented a mill of his own. Bernadette was not a strong child; the dampness of their home and the vestiges of the cholera she contracted in 1854 aggravated the asthma and other ailments from which the young girl suffered.
At age 14, she was considered to be ailing, undersized, of pleasant disposition, sensitive, and a slow student--even stupid--but was a kind, helpful and obedient child.
On February 11, 1858, the teenaged Bernadette was collecting scraps of wood on the bank of the River Gave when she was initially granted a vision of the Blessed Virgin, who did not identify herself at first. For the next six months Bernadette saw a light-enhaloed female form of indescribable beauty, near a cave in the Massabielle cliff. In total, Bernadette had 18 visions of the Virgin Mary at the grotto, which principally concerned prayer and penance.
Bernadette showed people the grotto in which the BVM appeared. Most of them mocked her but from February 18 until March 4, Bernadette continued to see and talk with Our Lady every day. The clerical and civic officials who subjected Bernadette to numerous interrogations found her to be veracious and completely disinterested in self-advancement.
People followed Bernadette. The saw the girl fall into ecstasy; they heard her speak, but they saw nothing. The unknown 'lady' said to Bernadette: "I wish to see people here"; "Pray for sinners"; "Tell the priests I wish to have a chapel here"; "Processions are to come here"; "Go, drink from the spring and wash in its water."
In obedience to this last injunction, the saint dug with her hands into the earth of the grotto, and there gushed forth a spring, unknown until that day--February 25, that for years has yielded 27,000 gallons weekly. Cures effected by drinking of the water mobilized pilgrimages of thousands which streamed to the grotto.
By March 4, about 200,000 people were accompanying Bernadette to the site. When Bernadette begged the lady for a name on March 25, she replied three times using the local dialect: "I am the Immaculate Conception--" a name that the girl did not understand because word of the definition had not yet reached the people of Lourdes. The last vision occurred on July 16, the Feast of Our Lady of Mount Carmel.
The Church met these beginnings of the Lourdes pilgrimages with great reserve, almost with hostility. In part this was because after the appearances ceased, there was an epidemic of copycat visionaries and morbid religiosity in the district, which increased the reserved attitude of the church authorities towards Bernadette's experiences.
But Lourdes became a symbol. In an age in which the existence of or at all events the possibility of knowing a supra-mundane God was denied, a permanent medical bureau had to be opened in Lourdes, which has collected, with the help of thousands of physicians of all creeds, an immense documentation of professionally attested, inexplicable cures.
Bernadette's simplicity and integrity were never questioned. Although the publicity that accompanied her visions had helped her father to find work, Bernadette gained little more than the spiritual consolation of a few months. For some years she suffered greatly from the suspicious disbelief of some and the tactless enthusiasm and insensitive attentions of others; these trials she bore with impressive patience and dignity. She resided with the nuns at the hospice for five years (1861-1866) in order to escape the publicity, but people sought her out even there.
In 1866 Bernadette joined the Sister of Notre-Dame at Saint Gildard in Nevers, France; she had wished for entrance two years earlier but had been prevented by bad health. She was happy with the nuns. Her health remained fragile, and she was given the last sacraments within four months of her arrival; she was allowed to take her first vows through a special dispensation. She recovered, however, and worked first as an infirmarian and later as a sacristan.
Here she was more sheltered from trying publicity, but not from the 'stuffiness' of the convent superiors nor from the tightening grip of asthma. "I am getting on with my joy," she would say. "What is that?" someone asked. "Being ill," was the reply.
The nuns, disappointed by the simplicity of this child of nature, in whom they had expected to find a second Teresa of Ávila or another Catherine of Siena, made the peasant girl feel bitterly the scant esteem in which they held her; and even her superiors, with the aim of protecting the visionary of Lourdes from the sin of pride, were not sparing in humiliations.
With the excuse that she was a "stupid, good-for-nothing little thing," her profession was continually delayed. God gave to the despised creature, who was punished for 13 years because of her visions, the strength to say: "You see, my story is quite simple. The Virgin made use of me, then I was put into a corner. That is now my place. There I am happy and there I remain."
Thus, she lived out her self-effacing life, dying at the age of 35 as did Saint Benedict Labre. The events of 1858 resulted in Lourdes becoming one of the most important pilgrim shrines in the history of Christendom, ending with the consecration of the basilica in 1876. But Saint Bernadette took no part in these developments; nor was it for her visions that she was canonized, but for the humble simplicity and religious trust that characterized her whole life (Attwater, Benedictines, Bentley, Delaney, Encyclopedia, Farmer, Sandhurst, Schamoni, Trochu, Walsh, White).
Saint Bernadette is the patron saint of shepherds (White).
Caius and Crementius MM (RM)
Died 304. Martyrs at Saragossa, Spain, in the persecution under Diocletian but are not counted among the 18 Martyrs of Saragossa because they died in a second outbreak of persecution that same year (Benedictines).
Callistus, Charisius & Companions MM (RM)
Date unknown. Nine Christians martyred in Corinth by being thrown into the sea (Benedictines).
Contardo of Este (AC)
(also known as Contardo the Pilgrim)
Died 1249. Saint Contardo is often surnamed "the Pilgrim." He belonged to the prestigious Este family of Ferrara. During his pilgrimage to Compostella, Spain, Contardo climbed a hill (later named after him) overlooking Broni, diocese of Tortona, Spain. There he prayed that if he had to die away from home, it should be on that beautiful spot. Almost immediately he fell ill and died in a wretched hut in extreme poverty. His tomb was honored by many miracles (Attwater2, Benedictines, Coulson).
Drogo of Sebourg, Hermit (RM)
(also known as Dreux, Drugo, Druon)
Born at Epinoy, Flanders, c. 1105; died in Sebourg, Hainault, April 16, c. 1186-89. Though born of noble Flemish parents, Saint Drogo was left motherless at birth (it is not clear whether his father was already dead or died while he was still a child). When he reached age 18, he disposed of all his property and became a penitential pilgrim, visiting several shrine. Thereafter, Drogo hired himself out as a shepherd to the flocks of Elizabeth de la Haire for six years at Sebourg, near Valenciennes, France. The humble saint was found this work entirely agreeable for it afforded him plenty of time for prayer as well as opportunities for exercises of humility and penance. His growing modesty, meekness, and charity gained him the reverence and esteem of his mistress and neighbors. They gave him gifts, which he passed along to those who needed them. Afraid that public notice of his holiness might jeopardize the progress he had made, Drogo resumed his pilgrimages, making nine trips to Rome. Finally, stricken with a most unsightly bodily affliction, he built himself a narrow cell against the wall of the church at Sebourg in Hainault, where he lived for 40 years until his death. During these years he ate barley-bread mixed with ashes and drank only warm water. To hide his penitential practice, he called this diet a medicine for his distemper. His relics rest in Saint Martin's at Sebourg (Benedictines, Delaney, Gill, Husenbeth).
Eighteen Martyrs of Saragossa (RM)
Died c. 304. These eighteen martyrs--Optatus, Lupercus, Successus, Martial, Urban, Julia, Quintilian, Publius, Fronto, Felix, Caecilian, Eventius, Primitivus, Apodemius, and four named Saturninus--suffered under Diocletian and the prefect Dacian. Prudentius, who lived at Saragossa a little later, described their martyrdom. Their relics were found at Saragossa in 1389. Some of these martyrs have separate entries (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Blessed Elias of Cologne, OSB Abbot (AC)
Died 1042; Montague marks his feast as April 12. Elias was an Irishman from County Monaghan who became a monk and, in 1020, abbot of the Gaelic abbey of Saint Martin the Great at Cologne, Germany. The archbishop also placed the abbey of Saint Pantaleon under his care (Benedictines, Montague).
Encratia of Saragossa VM (RM)
(also known as Encratis, Engracia)
Born in Portugal; died at Saragossa, Spain, c. 304. Saint Encratia was a maiden who fled her homeland to evade marriage because she had pledged her virginity to Christ. She was martyred at Saragossa, where the church now stands dedicated to her name, after undergoing tortures, such as flaying, having her breasts cut off, and being disemboweled. Encratia did not die immediately; with these mortal wounds she was sent back to prison, where she died. She is famous for "her ardor in suffering for Christ." She probably died under Diocletian but is not listed as one of the 18 Martyrs of Saragossa (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Fructuosus of Braga B Abbot (RM)
Born in Spain; died April 16, 665. Fructuosus was the son of a military officer belonging to the royal house of the Visigoths. His station in life would have called him to another vocation, but at the death of his parents he was at liberty to consecrate his life to divine service. After studying theology in the seminary established by the bishop of Palencia, Fructuosus sold his estates and distributed most of the proceeds among the poor, but saved a portion to establish monasteries. Freed of all ties, he became a monk, then a hermit in the Vierzo Mountains, where he was joined by crowds of disciples, whom he organized into the abbey called Complutum. Once the monastery was working well, he turned the abbacy over to other hands and retired again into the wilderness. We have two extant rules composed by Fructuosus: one called Complutum, the other the common rule. Whole families embraced his rule in community refuges, which he established based on the Rule of Saint Benedict. Eventually, Fructuosus was forced to accept the bishopric of Dumium, and later was consecrated archbishop of Braga, while wholly remaining a monk in spirit. His deathbed was a pile of ashes before the altar. The relics of Fructuosus are now venerated at Santiago de Compostella (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Husenbeth).
Died 1021. After Herve's father opposed his entering a monastery--as did also the monks--he contented himself by acting as treasurer of the basilica of Saint Martin of Tours (Encyclopedia).
Blessed Joachim Piccolomini, OSM (RM)
(also known as Joachim of Siena)
Born in Siena, Italy; died 1305; beatified by Paul V. Joachim, a member of the illustrious Piccolomini family, was blessed by piety from his youth. He had a singular devotion to the Blessed Virgin. His greatest childhood pleasure was to pray the sweet Ave Maria before her image.
His charity for the poor was no less extraordinary than his devotion. He stripped himself to clothe and relieve them: whatever pocket money he was given, he bestowed in alms. Moreover, he urged his parents to increase their aid to the distressed. His father one day remonstrated with Joachim that prudence ought to set bounds to his liberality, or he would reduce his whole family to poverty. The compassionate youth modestly replied: "You have taught me that an alms is given to Jesus Christ, in the persons of the poor: can we refuse him any thing? And what is the advantage of riches, but that they be employed in purchasing treasures in heaven?" The father wept for joy to hear such generous sentiments of virtue from one of so tender an age, and so dear to him.
When he was 14, Joachim joined the Servites as a lay-brother under Saint Philip Benizi. In that community, he became a perfect model of conspicuous virtue. Early in life, Joachim would often be found at midnight praying while the rest of the household slept. Now his fervor grew and instilled in him a still greater degree extraordinary humility. His religious brothers urged him to the priesthood, but he resisted because he believed himself absolutely unworthy; to serve at Mass was the height of his ambition. His whole life appears to be an attempt to hide himself from the eyes of others, to live in obscurity. Because of this, he requested to be moved to another house when he became too respected at Siena. Thus he assigned to Arezzo but when his impending departure became known, the people of Siena demurred and caused him to remain there until his death (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Joachim is pictured as a Servite in a black habit holding a book and flower (Roeder). He is venerated at Arezzo and Siena, Italy (Roeder).
Lambert of Saragossa M (RM)
Died c. 900; cultus promoted by Pope Hadrian VI. Saint Lambert was a servant who was killed near Saragossa, Spain, by his Saracen master during the Moorish occupation (Benedictines).
Magnus of Orkney M (AC)
Died on Igilsay Island, Norway, 1116.
Earl Magnus Erlendsson of Norway, son of Erling, ruled over half the Orkney Islands. He was killed by his cousin Haakon, who ruled over the other half. Magnus is venerated as the protector of Scotland and a martyr, even though as a young man he participated in the Viking raids on Scotland.
As a young man, Magnus visited Wales at least twice and had friends there, including a bishop, because he was related to the Scottish royal family. Haakon and Magnus travelled with King Magnus Barelegs in 1098 to raid the western islands of Scotland: Lewis, Uist, Skye, Tiree, and Mull. As the raiding party continued on to Wales, Magnus Erlendsson refused to participate saying, "I have no quarrel with any man here."
Needless to say, this did not endear him with his Viking brethren. The king ordered him below decks. But Magnus insisted that God would shield him. He stood on the prow singing Psalms and prayers in a loud voice. Companions saw this as cowardice, as did the king. While at anchor, Magnus left the ship one night and hid on shore. He made his way to the court of King Malcolm and Queen Margaret of Scotland, where the Gospel message was taken seriously. Here he became fast friends with Prince Edgar.
Magnus was made earl of Caithness. In 1105, he married a Scottish woman. After Magnus Barelegs was killed in 1102 at Ulster, Ireland, Magnus returned to Norway to find Haakon had taken over his earldom, too, with aggression and violence to his subjects. Magnus sought and gained the support of the Norwegian Thing (council) and went to the newly crowned King Eystein to gain a royal judgement in his favor.
Peace reigned for many years. Magnus was no pacifist--he fought off Viking chief Dufnjal when attacked. At that time Magnus and Haakon worked together to defend their people. Tensions again rose between the cousins when Magnus forbade his people from joining raiding parties. When Magnus went to the court of King Henry I of England for a year, Haakon seized control of Magnus's earldom and much of Caithness. Once again the dispute was settled by the Thing.
During Easter week, Haakon and Magnus met on the island of Egilsay, which belonged to the Church. The stated intention was reconciliation, but Haakon arrived with eight warships. Magnus prayed throughout the night and he refused the protection of his few men. He received Communion and waited for his cousin.
Magnus was taken prisoner by Haakon's men, judged during a mock trial, and was killed by Haakon's chef, Lifolf. Magnus was eventually buried in Kirkwall cathedral, which is dedicated in his honor. After his death, devotion grew for Magnus. He was honored for his virtue and piety, but there appears to be no reason why he should have been called a martyr.
His name was invoked in time of danger, and for the sick who were cured. Later, Haakon made a pilgrimage to Rome and the Holy Land. Thereafter he ruled well, though he never tolerated open devotion to the cousin he murdered. Magnus stood against wanton violence and racism against foreigners. He is another model for our times. An account concerning Magnus is included in the final portion of the Orkney Saga, which is published in English by Penguin (Attwater, Benedictines, Encyclopedia, Markus, Mooney).
Paternus of Wales (AC)
(also known as Padarn)
5th century. Paternus was born in Brittany to devout parents named Patran and Gwen. His father sought Gwen's permission to go to live as a hermit in Ireland, and she brought up their son to be pious and godly.
The boy cherished the memory of his father. When he grew up he sailed with other monks to Wales to live as a hermit himself. He met the great Welsh saints, and humbly learned from them. One day Saint Samson summoned Paternus when he had just put on one boot. Without delaying to put on the other boot the saint hastened to answer Samson's summons.
Instead of leading a solitary life, Paternus was called to found a great monastery. He chose a spot in Cardiganshire near Aberystwyth, Wales, that was later known as Llanabarn (Llanbadarn) Fawr, which means, "the church of the great Paternus." Over 120 monks joined Paternus at Llanbarn Fawr.
He was a bold opponent of the pagan kings of the region, never tiring of preaching in the hope of their conversion. Once the evil King Maelgun accused the saint of stealing much royal treasure. Paternus is said to have proved his innocence by plunging his hand into boiling water and taking it out completely unharmed (Benedictines, Bentley).
Paternus of Avranches B (RM)
(also known as Pair of Coutances)
Born at Poitiers, France, c. 482; died c. 574 (or 563). Saint Pair joined the monks of Ansion and later became a hermit near Coutances. Eventually he was consecrated bishop of Avranches, Normandy. He is often confused with Saint Padarn (Benedictines). In art, Saint Paternus is a hermit bishop with serpents around him (Roeder).
Turibius of Astorga B (RM)
Died c. 460. Bishop Turibius of Astorga, Spain, championed Catholic doctrine against the Priscillianists and promoted ecclesiastical discipline. He endeavors against Priscillianism were heralded in a letter addressed to him from Pope Saint Leo the Great (Benedictines, Husenbeth).
Turibius of Palencia, Abbot (AC)
Died c. 528. Saint Turibius was probably a bishop. He was definitely the abbot-founder of the great abbey of Liébana in Asturias, which eventually became a Benedictine center (Benedictines).
Vaise M (AC)
(also known as Vasius, Vaize)
Died c. 500. Saint Vaise was a rich citizen of Saintes, France, who was put in chains and beheaded by his family for distributing his property among the poor (Benedictines, Encyclopedia).
Blessed William Gnoffi, Hermit (AC)
Born in Polizzi (near Palermo), Italy; died c. 1317. William atoned for a sin of the flesh by leading an extremely penitential life (Benedictines).
About Saints of the Day
These summaries were prepared in 1998 by St. Patrick's parishioner Katherine I. Rabenstein and are reproduced on www.saintpatrickdc.org with the permission of the author. Note that the content has not been updated since that time and represents the research of the author. An alphabetical index of all saints on our site is available. Source references are also available. HTML formatting © 2007-2008 by St. Patrick's Catholic Church, Washington, D.C.